Monday, 2 November 2009

...out of the water...

In case you were wondering where I was, I can confirm that I've not passed from this mortal coil, but the family and I have only just got back from Scotland - apologies for the lack of posts in the interim but as you can imagine, the days were full, and (seemed to) mostly consist of eating and drinking, and since then, the days have been packed to the gunnels with "stuff" that really needed to be done..

...and so, with 125 miles under her belt (in my ownership), no collisions, no injuries, no (major) breakages, a store of new found knowledge, and I guess the more important lesson understood that I have a whole shed-load still to learn, "Papillon" came out of the water for the winter yesterday... I'd say that it was a brilliant season on the water, and I enjoyed every minute of it... to be honest the boat has paid for itself in terms of enjoyment in one season! brother in law and I had a fun time trying to get her on to the trailer (she came off it so easily... had I but known it would have been so difficult in the opposite direction I might have left here on it! ) Suffice to say that it may be November, but Steve the Wargamer had to go swimming... and that water is quite cold...

...funniest sight of the day was bro-in-laws boots beginning to float towards the horizon... upright... with socks still in them..... you had to be there!

Either way - here she is - all tucked up, and chocked up, safe and sound... now the work starts to get her ready for the next season a mere five months away... I'll post on the progress every now and again....

...and that's it for now

Monday, 19 October 2009

So where did that week go!!

Difficult to believe that yet another week has gone by, but so it has, in fact, do you know it's Christmas in nine weeks time this Friday??!

Apologies for the lack of posts - part of the problem is that this is my first blog from a new PC. I've been meaning to upgrade for ages, but with life as hectic as it is I finally managed to get round to it on Saturday, and have spent the time since then putting it together - not in any physical sense, but reloading the software, applications and settings that make a computer your own... all done now though, and all I need to do is a refresh on the old machine to have finished the swapover. All takes time, however..

So what else have I been doing in the interim?? The week wouldn't be complete without at least a little jaunt on the water, and that was completed on Sunday...

A beautiful day, but no wind at all, hardly a breath in fact, and not enough to move us against the tide so I anchored up (with new kedge anchor!), got out the tea flask, and did a little fishing... caught nothing, but not a care in the world, trust me my friends there is nothing, simply nothing, like messing about in boats...

All the more sad as it has to end soon, and just another few weeks and out she comes - she needs some work doing on her so the timing is good....

Oh, and "Palmerston's Folly"??? Named after the Victorian forts that ring Portsmouth which were built at the behest of the aforesaid prime minister to counter the French threat posed by Napoleon III, this is a rather pleasant beer brewed by Suthwyk Ales and made using barley grown on their own farm on Portsdown Hill (site of at least three of the major forts).

As I was going to pick up the PC nearby it seemed churlish not to stop in at the Southwick Brew Shop [click here] and pick up a four pint cary out on the way home... an inspired decision, it was absolute nectar!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Solent sniffing & Nab intro...

The sailing season may well be coming to a close, but the summer down here in the south of England is gripping on by the skin of its teeth, and so yesterday found me out on the boat for an afternoons sailing, in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, despite it being the second week of October. Winds were westerly (with just a little south in it) and I guess force 3 predominantly, though there were a few agreeable gusts to keep you on your toes...

Beautiful afternoon with little motoring (except the last bit to get home) and another first as this was the furthest I'd poked my nose out into the Solent all summer as I rounded well after the Eastoke mark before turning for home..

I think I'm ready for my first big trip now, and to get more prepared I've even started shopping around for GPS equipment smileys. I strongly suspect that it's not going to happen until next year (simply not enough time left this year) but it's something to look forward to over the winter... the first trip I'd like to do is to the Nab Tower [click here] (pictured right), for no other reason originally than that I've always fancied seeing it (!), but I now understand that there is a second reason, as it also has a military heritage... more on that when I get there (and more importantly get back!)

Distance: 10 miles (125 miles year to date)
Wind: Force 3 occasionally gusting force 4.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Lost kedge...

I took last Friday off to get some more sailing in, despite it being an inset day at school I couldn't tempt either of the sprogs on to the boat so headed off into the harbour on my own (which I really don't mind - in fact I quite like it in a selfish way!). It was a very very quiet afternoon though, little or no wind to start off with so I ended up anchored at the end of the creek to do a little fishing, and what would have been called "make do and mend" in Jack Aubrey's day. New ropes had whippings added to stop them fraying, old ropes were replaced, and all was very peaceful...

Happily the wind came up so sails were re-raised and I headed off into the harbour for a very pleasant couple of hours sailing... until I got back to the mooring and realised that like a complete and total plank I'd left my small kedge anchor (with rope and chain) on the foredeck, and that at sometime during the afternoon while heeled to the wind, it had slowly and elegantly slipped over the side....

I've replaced it now, but if I'd known how expensive it was I'd have at least waved as it slipped over the side!!! Either way, even with that, it was still a brilliant days sail... sunny & warm - most unusual for this time of the year..

Distance: 10 miles (115 miles year to date)
Wind: "Changeable" (Started out with little or nothing, and rose to a Force 3)..

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Winds variable...

In my efforts to get in as much sailing as possible before the end of the sailing year, I headed out solo last Saturday for a pleasant afternoons sailing...(it would seem that a new 'Jonas Brothers' [click here] DVD purchased just that morning - with four free pairs of 3D glasses apparently - seemed to be a bigger attraction than the opportunity to sit on the boat with her Dad for two or three hours! )

Started out with two reefs, got as far as we had the weekend before, where I then had to shake the reefs out (wind was dropping all the time). By the time I was half way up the harbour it had dropped to almost nothing so the donk was switched on and we motored home through a very quiet, very still, gloaming...

A huge sunset, a pleasant cigar, and a can of Tanglefoot [click here] just underlined what was a memorable sail. Winter approaches though - it was dark when I moored at 7.30 in the evening!

Distance: 10 miles (105 miles year to date - there's the century)
Wind: "Changeable" (Started out Force 4 dropped to nothing)

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Southampton boatshow nears...

The weekend after next is the Southampton International Boatshow - looking forward to seeing if there are any bargains, but little'un and I definitely want one of these:
..or perhaps one of these for when SWMBO is onboard..

With the season's close almost upon us (where did it go!!) littlest'un and I had a brilliant day out on Sunday. Having had an additional weeks holiday after we got back from holiday with the intention of being able to go sailing a few times, the weather during the week had been dreadful - so on the eve of my return to work this was the last and only opportunity.

We took full benefit of a spring tide and had a good 4 to 4.5 hours of cruising ending up well into the Thorney channel (for those who know Chichester Harbour this is one of the offshoots from the main Bosham channel..) - the furthest we've been yet, I think..

Winds were stronger than before (tail end of a very windy week all round), gray skies, but when we got to the Bosham channel the sun came out with the flask of tea... serendipity!!

With only a couple of weeks to go before the boats come off the water, thoughts are now turning to the first "overnight'er".... oh, and it'd be nice to see the mileage hit three figures this year..

Distance: 13 miles (95 miles year to date)
Wind: Moderate (Force 3, mostly force 4)

Monday, 10 August 2009

Always, always beating!..

On the sailing front another beautiful day yesterday afternoon with a solo trip into the harbour, in the face of a wind that wherever I sailed seemed to be right on the nose!

Winds were fairly light however, the sun was warm, the sandwich was good (egg and sausage!), there were some pleasant tunes on the radio..... and all was definitely right with the world....!

Distance: 4 miles (82 miles year to date)
Wind: Light (Force 2 gusting 3)

Friday, 7 August 2009

We really did want to go to sea...

Yee goods where has the time gone - many, many, apologies for the lack of posts recently, I can only put it down to sheer weight of work, visits by family, and other time wasting activities..!

... the UK has had some of the most rubbish weather known to man over the last few months, when it hasn't been raining with no wind, it's been glorious sunshine with too much wind (yes this is possible when your boat is only as big as mine!) so you can imagine that I've been fairly champing at the bit to get out again following those first tentative adventures...

Since the last time I wrote we've ventured out a couple of times - one considerably more successful than the other, but hey, we're still afloat and no-one has been damaged yet!

First trip was on the weekend of the 25th and 26th, just me and the smallest person but it was *way* too windy even with all the reefs I put in - we had a quick run to the end of the creek, turned round and came right back - little'un said to me half way down "Daddy, is the bar still open at the club??" - she had the right idea, and that was where we ended up!

Distance: 3 miles (63 miles year to date)
Wind: Heavy (Force 5 gusting 6)

The next trip was much better though - quite possibly the best sail of the year so far, when little'un and I (she's turning into quite the 'foredeck gorilla' she has a knack with the roller furling on the foresail, and steers a good course if I need to do something!) went on a marathon sail all the way from our mooring, up to Emsworth to wave at family members out for a walk, and then all the way down to the bottom of the harbour, and for the first time *out to sea*! Not far I'll admit, as I needed to get back in time for the tide on the mooring... but we rounded the Eastoke mark coming back - bit of a milestone all round and much chuffed....

Distance: 15 miles (78 miles year to date)
Wind: Medium (Force 3 gusting 4)

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Windy trip into Emsworth..

Another sailing snippet - the girls and I went out for a very exciting sail on Sunday - a beautiful day but pretty windy so it marked a nautical first for me in as much as it was the first time I had reefed the main, and that it was also largely successful!

According to my local weather station [click here] winds during the time we were out were a solid force 4, gusting 5... and I can confirm it was lively enough that we decided to have a run into my local fishing village (Emsworth) rather than head towards the sea. A lovely run, but very busy, followed by a pretty hairy beat back to the entrance of the inlet where our mooring is, dodging two lines of moored yachts end to end, and what seemed like a hundred thousand other boats going about their business - all very exciting, but nothing was hit and no animals were hurt while completing this exercise!

Distance: 5 miles (60 miles year to date)
Wind: Light (Force 4 gusting 5)

Friday, 3 July 2009

New jib trial..

Lovely trip out on the boat last night, and a chance to finally try out the new jib... just a short trip as I had to go after work, but oh my, what an evening... it's been scorching hot this week in the UK (unusual to say the least) but an hour or two on the water was enough to restore the equilibrium ... a pleasant hour and a half's sailing in light winds ensued, followed by a half hour drift back to the mooring in an absolutely flat calm, warm and balmy evening - a can of Bass in one hand (which had hung over the side for the previous hour to cool ), and a cigar in the other... absolutely magic - one of those evenings where you can hear people talking, miles away...

Distance: 4 miles (55 miles year to date)
Wind: Light (Force 1 gusting nothing!)

Monday, 29 June 2009

New jib... sailing this weekend.... no wind and no time... but the new jib has been deployed and I'm really looking forward to trying it for the first time!

...and that really is enough for now...

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Fathers day sail....

Been a while, so what about the sailing trips?

14th June:

Last weekend involved a quick sail in winds far stronger than we should really have been out in, but everything had gone OK until the wind picked up just as we were turning for home. In the strong winds I had turned into the wind to put some reefs in and while the jib was rattling about some of the stitching had given away. I always knew that a replacement was on the card so it wasn't too much of a surprise - the jib is much older than my main so I'd already planned on replacing it. The new jib is now on order and due to arrive this week which is a bit exciting...

Distance: 3.5 miles (39.5 miles year to date)
Wind: Moderate (Force 4 gusting 5)

21st June:

Over the weekend just gone (Fathers Day here in the UK) I managed to get a couple of days on the boat - Saturday to do some maintenance and repairs which among other things included unattaching the mast so as to do some maintenance on my roller furling gear (that's one to the left - the things you learn on a wargaming blog!) Don't ask, by the way, when we were getting the boat ready at the beginning of the season we had to "drop" the mast so as to do some work on the electrics and when we put it back up we must have put the furler on back to front! .

Everything went ahead as planned and it's always a boost when you do succeed at something difficult that you've been thinking and planning about for far too long...

On the Sunday of this weekend, and to celebrate Fathers Day, the two little'uns and I went on a massive 'voyage' ending up within about 50 yards of the open sea - it was a lovely days sailing was basically just a long run down wind, sitting in the sun and looking at all the boats... fantastic, and massively relaxing..

Distance: 11.5 miles (51 miles year to date)
Wind: Light (Force 1 gusting 3)

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Mackeral spoon...

Took the day off work last Friday (the weather forecast for the weekend was not good) and went sailing for the day - in the footsteps of Slocum and Chichester this was done single handed, and I had some of the windiest conditions to date to play in. Lovely days sailing, but bit cold and gray when compared to the last time... come on summer, make your mind up!!

The recently bought mackerel spoon was deployed, and although it looks pretty has so far only caught sea weed!!

Distance: 4 miles (36 miles year to date)
Wind: Moderate (Force 3 gusting 4 - perhaps 5?)

Monday, 25 May 2009

Goose winged!

Apologies for the interruption to blog service folks - I promise you there's lots going on - it's just that there's not enough time to blog about them which in the grand scheme of things is probably the right way to go about life... do it and then blog!! So for your viewing pleasure the first of a few quick fire posts....

So - it's along weekend in the UK and most of it to date spent on the water - Saturday was a big race day at my local sailing club and I'd volunteered to man one of the rescue boats... bottom line I got to spend the day blasting all over the harbour in a nice comfortable rib, with a huge (for me) 40 horsepower outboard on the back, and better yet a nice little flag that meant the harbour master didn't mind me breaking the speed limit! Good day, though all the racing was delayed which meant we had a bit of a mud walk when we got back in...

Sunday though was a far more gentler experience as my littlest person and I took to the water in Papillon for the day... the outboard may be a tenth of the size, but it was an absolutely cracking day - we got the whole four hours of available tide, loads of sunshine, and although it was a little light at the beginning the wind soon filled in for some truly memorable sailing that had both me and little'un whooping... ace day... all capped off by a goose wing run from the bottom to the top of the harbour - and that has to be the most mellow experience known to man!

A little of what it was about.....

Distance: 8.5 miles (32 miles year to date)
Wind: None to Moderate (Nothing to force 3 perhaps gusting 4)

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Too windy!....

On the sailing front, just a small trip last weekend - the wind was up and in the interests of ensuring that at least some of the family still wished to come out next time I decided to curtail the adventure!

Distance: 3 miles (23.5 miles year to date)
Wind: Moderate (force 3 gusting 4)

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

A couple of fantastic trips..

A couple of fantastic trips out recently..

...I had the day off a week or so ago for my first solo trip - the fishing road was wielded in anger (caught nothing but I did get to reacquaint myself with rag worms - blechhh!). Most importantly a lot of confidence was built up; I can handle the boat on my own, and especially under sail... bodes well for a longer trip later in the summer. Even better though, I also caught my first brief sight of one of the colony of seals in the harbour - there's only 15 or so, but amazing to see one...

Distance: 6 miles
Wind: light (force 1 or 2)

The trip referred to above, however, was on bank holiday Monday. Not good tides as the high was at 8 in the morning, and at best I can only sail from two to three hours either side of that before the mud takes over from the water! Either way I dragged littl'est person from her pit at 7 for company, and we were motoring for the main channel by 8... very light winds at that time of the morning, but with a full flask of tea, and some good chat with my youngest and the time just flew by. Ace day....

Distance: 6 miles (20.5 miles year to date)
Wind: v. light (force 1 just 2 at times)

Sunday, 19 April 2009

.. oh dear...

... "oh dear"??

...well on Friday I went down to check the boat was OK and found it was not on the mooring and had been moved to another one.. no idea why... quite worrying...

..the tides being what they were the first opportunity I had to get down and check the boat was Saturday morning so after a 5:30 start (ouch!!) I found myself on the boat and holding the frayed end of the old mooring.. looks like it had frayed and broken at the point where it is secured to the big concrete block on the harbour bottom. She must have gone adrift, but some kind soul had rescued her and moored her safely - no idea who, but I owe them a beer as the boat seems undamaged in all respects! Whew..... now all I need to do is go mud wading to find the concrete block and repair the old mooring!

So - "oh dear" (and I can promise you what I actually said was slightly pithier that that..) but all's well that ends well - I have this Wednesday off and am planning my first solo voyage; fishing rod has been found, reel unearthed from the back of the attic (neither used for at least 20 years!) - should be fun..

Oh, and family had the first sailing trip last Monday - we hit nothing, broke nothing, no-one was seasick, the sun shone, the wind was ideal and they want to go again.. job done!

Distance: 3.5 miles (8.5 miles year to date)
Wind: light

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Launch day...

As promised, and requested (well one of you did!), just a few pictures of the boat post clean up and preparation...

These were taken on launch day...

..which was just about perfect in terms of sun, but we could probably have done with a little more wind (ie. there wasn't any until we got to almost our destination).

Backing up a trailer with a considerable amount of boat behind the car was an interesting experience - not trailed before anyway, and I couldn't quite get to grips with having to turn the wheel one way to make the boat turn the other!

Finally in the water, and tied up...

..beautiful day - see following - notice complete lack of movement on the water! Almost windless....

...followed by a gentle putter up the harbour to the permanent mooring. No breeze to talk of until we got to almost the end when we had a few puffs that got us moving (5.5 knots at one point!)...

All things considered a very successful first voyage at about 5 miles - couple of interesting incidents and lessons learned... first the lesson; stay inside the channel markers at the top of the harbour (where the water tends to be shallower) - my boat only draws a couple of feet, but we still managed to sit on the mud for a while!

Second the incident - biggest little'un took this for us..

...the rescue services were out and all people taken off safely - cycling to work later in the week I went past and the owner was there stripping out anything usable that was left - it had burned to the waterline. Happily the insurance are paying, but he advised me that this was caused by an engine fire.. very sobering end to a lovely day...

Distance: 5 miles
Wind: light to none

Friday, 13 March 2009

It's a bit quiet round here...

Lest anyone think that I have shuffled off this mortal coil I am here to report that all is well, it's just too damn busy to be posting...

What has taken all my time is the following:

...I've had sailing as a hobby since the days of short school trousers and caps (and that dates me) - I think my first ever time on the water was an RYA sailing course when I was 15... after that however, I then spent an unfeasibly long time sailing and racing windsurfers before finally coming to my senses (bad back and advancing age) four or five years ago when I decided it was time to return to sailing in the sitting down position....

"Papillon" is my first ever boat, only 19 foot long though she does have a cabin. She came with an outboard to get me out of trouble, and all the necessary pieces of kit, and since the picture (which was taken the day I bought her) she has now been anti-fouled and cleaned inside and out within an inch of her life... Not being too cheesy about it all, she is a bit of a lifetime ambition - I've wanted a boat ever since I did that sailing course, but money, family, time, work and a host of other commitments and obstacles mean that it's only now that I can really devote the time and money... either way - now I have one, and I ain't half looking forward to the summer!